Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Math Workshop Woes

I've hit a wall. I usually love teaching math. Creating math games and activities for my classroom is my absolute FAVORITE. But I am hating math workshop this year. When I taught 2nd grade, I taught a traditional workshop model with a mini-lesson, independent and partner work, and a share. In kindergarten last year, I tried out a few different things - open centers, a workshop-ish model, and finally, math tubs. Math tubs worked the best for me in kindergarten, but when I moved to first grade, the teachers at that level had already developed and established a plan for math stations. So, I teach with math stations. I start with a mini-lesson, break into our 3 groups, and the kids rotate through three stations - teacher station, activity/review station, and game station. At the beginning of the year, this did not work for my class. At. All. Some of the needs in my class this year demanded a more than I could handle on my own, so my math specialist started coming in to work with us 2 days a week and it was a life saver! Now, we have adopted a new intervention model and our math specialists were pulled to work with a new grade level. So I'm all alone again... and our math workshop has been horrific! The behaviors, the management, the range of learners in my classroom, this model is not working for them (or me!). I was thinking of going back to some kind of math tub format like I used last year, but I'm still on the fence. I had lots of tubs last year... but maybe I'd only have 4 or 5 this time? I still want to have my teacher time with them during math workshop, how am I going to factor that in? I would love to hear how some of you format your math time - maybe I'll get a little inspiration! :)

In other news, here are some of the items we're using in math this week! 

...this place value unit that I created to supplement our current curriculum. We're using the place value matching game this week and some of the practice worksheets!
Activities from Erica's 1-120 charts unit! We've been using the "adding tens" game this week.

Love these centers! We're using the Tricky true/false right now. The set up of these questions is fantastic - our district is pushing using "algebra" type questions in math workshop even in the younger grades, and this activity fits so nicely! I love how the kids are solving these tricky problems (things like 9+1=8+2, true or false?)! 

Hope everyone's having a great week- it's halfway over! :)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Just another manic Monday...

Happy Monday. UGH! I don't enjoy the Monday after a week long vacation. The kids were tired, I was tired... and then this:
No, I'm not having a sky light installed :o) 
I came in this morning and my ceiling was raining rusty brown water all over my beautiful word wall courtesy of Erica Bohrer .
What a headache. It could be worse. My set of iPads COULD have been on that table because that's where I store them. So now, I have 6 panels missing from my ceiling and they can't fix it til the snow melts! Ah!

We're working on Unit 4 of Investigations in math workshop this month. So, to go with the theme of data collection and to incorporate some St. Patrick's Day fun, I created some surveys! So, I have a freebie! It comes from my Shamrockin' Math Centers. I'm linking up with Classroom Freebies.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

I hope you enjoy this freebie! :)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Awesome Giveaway!

This is a huge giveaway for over 100 products! Click the picture to visit Teaching and Tapas to enter. I hope I win! :)

Here's another great one!
Click the button below to enter for your chance to win a Target and Sephora gift card and 2 products from Learning with Mrs. Leeby and Live, Laugh, I LOVE Kindergarten's TPT shops! So fun!

Teacher's Wishlist Linky!

Happy Sunday! I am dreading going back to school tomorrow after a whole week off! Love my kiddos, but I am not ready for my 5 am wakeup! Today, I am linking up with Melissa at First Grade Smiles for a Teacher's Wishlist linky!
(visit her blog to check it out {so cute!} and link up!)

Okay, so here are my WISHLIST items!
iPod Nanos for my listening center. I wrote a grant. I didn't get it :( I would LOVE to have these for my kids to store in their book bins! Just 4 or 5, not a class set. I'll write another grant someday...
These cute book bags for my class! I love the bright colors (the pink/green matches my decor perfectly!). I use ziplocks now and they aren't that durable.
These book bins in pink and green. I bought cardboard ones from IKEA this year for my classroom for their read to self bins. They're ok, but I have already duct-taped 3 of them... These are so fun and colorful!
My number one wishlist item! I was SO lucky to get a mimio board this year. I am taking an interactive whiteboard class in my district and the few of us who are taking it were so fortunate to receive mimios to try out. However, my projector is on a cart. With a cord. Across my rug. With 19 first graders who bump into it 1000 times a day. And then we have to recallibrate the mimio. And recallibrate. And recallibrate.... It's so frustrating! I try to use the board as much as possible but when I have to constantly stop a lesson because someone bumped the cart, it gets to be a bit tedious... Anyone else have projectors on a cart?
Last but not least.. I need an unlimited cash flow so that I can feed my font and clipart obsession. Not too much to ask, right?! 

Link up and enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Five for Friday

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!
1. Non-teaching related, but my little muffin got spayed on Tuesday. Thank goodness I was home on February vaca to spend some much needed time with my little girl! 
Here's Lola getting some R and R!

2. I finished my Shamrockin' Literacy Centers! Hooray! I can't wait to use these with my class in a couple of weeks :o) They're up on TPT if you're interested! 
3. I have been home all week and I have done zero planning. ZERO. Instead, I've been feeding my font and clip art addiction. 
Exhibit A: My recent purchases from Ashley Hughes and Krista Wallden

If you haven't stalked checked out these talented ladies on TPT, please do!! My shopping cart is full again! :)

4. Instead of planning, like I should, I'm working hard on my Shamrockin' Math Centers! Here's a sneak peek: 
I still cannot figure out how to rotate pictures. HELP!

5. Last night I made these guys for dinner. I found the recipe on Pinterest
Made some chicken pot pie in the crock pot, and finished up by making mini pie cups using a muffin tin and some ready made pie crusts cut into small circles. Love crock pot meals, especially on busy school days! I usually test out my recipes that I pin on weekends and vacation weeks and save the good ones for school nights. :)

Have a wonderful weekend! 

Link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hall Pass!

I'm linking up with Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits for a Hall Pass linky!

P is for PRODUCT:
My favorite product right now is Krista Wallden's clip art! Her shop is my newest discovery. I have bought way too much of her stuff in the last few days! Most recently, these guys for my new Shamrockin' Literacy Centers
Go check her stuff out!

A is for AREA:
My favorite area of my classroom right now is my rug. I recently got a Mimio for my classroom and needed to reconfigure my whole classroom to allow space for it. Here's a picture of what it looks like after I changed my whole room around! 
I opened up the library and made the whole room more open. My shelves used to close in the rug area and I pushed them all against the wall :)

S is for SIGNAL:
I use lots of different signals in my classroom! I use clapping patterns, things like "Eyes Up, Hands Up", but recently I've just been walking around the classroom with "sparklers" in hand, popping them into their sparkler cups silently. Once the kids see one kid get a sparkler for sitting quietly, the room goes quiet instantly :) I use sparklers as a token system - my kids get to cash in their sparklers on Friday for classroom coupons like "bring a stuffed animal to school" or "dibs on the iPad". They love it! Must find a picture of those sparkler cups...

S is for SANITY:
My sanity is coming home to my cute puppy everyday! After a long day in the classroom, I look forward to this little nugget greeting me at the door :) 
Lola is my 6 month old French Bulldog/baby :) 

I also survive the school day with this: 
I need at least my morning coffee to make it through the day :) A stop on the way home is often needed as well! 

Hope you enjoyed the linky! Link up with Reagan or read more Hall Passes there!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vacation Week!

I am beyond relieved for vacation week this week! It has given me lots of time to work on some new TPT units that have been in the works for awhile!

Right before we left for vacation we started unit 4 of Lucy Calkins Reader's Workshop through the lens of the common core- all about non-fiction! Teaching non-fiction in reading and writing is probably my favorite thing ever! Plus, all of those hesitant readers that aren't interested in anything ever always seem to love non-fiction! To go along with this new unit, I created this:

These posters are great for displaying after we discuss each text feature! 

We will be beginning our non-fiction/expert projects in writer's workshop soon as well. I really like teaching both non-fiction in reading and non-fiction in writing at the same time. I plan to use the woodland animals mini-unit I created recently. Here's a few pictures of what that looks like!

Sorry for the sideways pictures - still new at this! :)

Currently, we're finishing up writing comic books! I started doing a comic book unit last year when I taught K. This year, I started comic books during unit 3 of reader's workshop when we discussed characters. It was a great way to discuss character development! I'll try to get some work samples from comic books up in the next few days! 

Meanwhile, we've been doing so great with our literacy centers! I am really curious how other people organize their centers and how they run them. I usually have a half hour block after recess time to work at the 5 literacy centers I introduce at the beginning of the week. This works okay, but it took months before my first graders were independent enough to work at the centers independently so that I could provide small group instruction during center times. We've recently been working on these skills: 

Shoe Shop by Sarah Cooley! We've been working on mastering beginning and ending /sh/. This pack is perfect for this skill! (And, the kids love "shoe shopping!" 

This center is a favorite! I have used it for the past two weeks with my class. Deedee has her kids time themselves in 4 intervals. I do as well, only on the iPad. My kids are also able to record their voices while timing themselves on the QuickVoice app. It's free! If you have iPads, QuickVoice is great! 

I hope everyone that has a vacation this week is having a nice one :) 

Monday, February 11, 2013

I'm here!

Now that my TPT shop is fully up and running, I'm so excited to join the blogging world! I have been stalking reading teacher blogs for a couple of years now, and I decided to start my own. I hope to share my classroom ideas and freebies on this blog!

Here's a Valentine's Day Freebie to get us started!
Grab my Super Sweet Antonyms packet over at TPT for Valentine's Day!